Saturday News, June 8
Authorities Find Body Of Missing 15 Year Old Girl
BOONE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they have found the body believed to be a 15-year-old Iowa girl who was kidnapped by a registered sex offender while walking home from school.
Officials said early Saturday that a body believed to be that of Kathlynn Shepard was found by fishermen in an Iowa waterway Friday night. The high school freshman has been missing since May 20. She and a 12-year-old friend were lured into a truck that police say was driven by Michael Klunder. Police said Klunder took the girls from Dayton to a hog confinement where he worked.
The 12-year-old escaped. Klunder later committed suicide.
Hundreds of people searched for Kathlynn. Hopes of finding her alive were dampened when testing confirmed that blood found on Klunder's truck and at the hog building was Kathlynn's.
Officials Investigating If Klunder Was Responsible For Missing Cousins Deaths
EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they're still investigating whether there's any connection between Michael Klunder, a sex offender who committed suicide, and the disappearance last year of two slain Evansdale cousins.
The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office says investigators are still tracking the actions and whereabouts of Michael Klunder around the time that Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook went missing.
Elizabeth was 8 and Lyric was 10 when they rode their bikes in July and disappeared. Their bodies were discovered in December.
But authorities add that Klunder isn't their sole focus and they continue to follow up on other leads.
Plymouth County Well Represented For Governor's Environmental Awards
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County will be well represented for the upcoming Governor's Iowa Environmental Excellence Awards. The city of Le Mars, Van's Sanitation along with the Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency will be honored with special recognition in Waste Management, and the Plymouth County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will receive special recognition for Water Quality. The awards ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, June 27th at Des Moines. The city of Le Mars, Van's Sanitation and Recycling and the Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency have partnered together with the goal of making Le Mars the recycling capital of Iowa. In 2012, Le Mars city council voted to require every commercial business to recycle. 850 totes were purchased for area businesses. A former landfill has been converted to a recycling center. Wood is sold to an ethanol plant, concrete is ground and used on roads, shingles are ground and reused for road projects and metals are separated and sold for scrap. Van's purchases recyclables, then bales and markets the materials. The collaboration and leadership by the three entities has resulted in the county exceeding the 25 percent diversion goal by nearly four percent and can serve as a model to other planning areas.
The Plymouth County Pheasants Forever will also be honored at the same ceremony for providing $15,000 in seed, labor, and equipment for an innovative way to treat the city of Remsen's drinking water. For years, the nitrate levels in the water had been increasing. The water from eight wells on 90 acres of farmland needed to be blended before being safe to drink. Remsen had three choices: purchase drinking water from an outside source, build a multi-million dollar filtration plant, or take a risk and try planting native prairie on the well land to naturally treat the water. Remsen received grants and low-interest loans to purchas the land and Pheasants Forever handled the planting of native grasses. Since the planting in 2009, the community has seen a decrease in the nitrate levels and the water is now safe to drink without being blended. The site is also being used as an outdoor classroom and the community can use the mowed walking paths to view the grasses, wildflowers, songbirds and other prairie animals. No other community in the state or nation has used this solution to treat groundwater and the land will now remain a native prairie.
Merrill Man Found Dead In Yard
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office received a call on Thursday at about 4:30 p.m. of a male subject that was unresponsive and not breathing at a residence in the 2500 block of K-30.
After arrival and investigation at the scene, the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office and Plymouth County Medical Examiner determined that Richard O. Kalas, age 83, of Merrill IA, had been mowing grass at his residence on a farm tractor. Due to unknown reasons, Mr. Kalas had fallen off of the tractor and was found lying in the yard by a family member later in the day. Mr. Kalas was pronounced dead at the scene by the Plymouth County Medical Examiner.
The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office and Plymouth County Medical Examiner were assisted at the scene by the Hinton Ambulance and Fire Department.
Branstad Declares Five More Counties As Disaster
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has issued a disaster emergency proclamation for five more counties affected by recent storms and flooding.
The governor made the announcement Friday for Appanoose, Lee, Muscatine, Wayne and Webster counties. It's in addition to other counties affected by storms and flooding that began May 19.
The declaration helps counties access state resources in response to the damage.
Branstad also activated an assistance program for Fayette and Muscatine counties. The program provides grants of up to $5,000 for home or car repairs, clothing or food replacements and temporary
Supreme Court Says Stiffer Penalties Cannot Be Given For Invoking 5th Amendment Right
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says criminal defendants cannot be punished with stiffer sentences for invoking their right to remain silent to avoid answering questions about
whether they're using drugs.
Justices ruled 5-2 on Friday that a Polk County judge unfairly penalized Kenneth R. Washington III when he ordered him to complete five times as much community service than had been envisioned under a plea deal for possessing marijuana.
Washington had invoked his right against self-incrimination after Judge William Price asked whether his urine would be positive for drug use if it was tested that day.
Price ordered Washington to serve 250 hours of community service rather than the 50 hours that had been recommended by prosecutors and the defense. Justices said that was retaliation for exercising a constitutional right.
Branstad Will Need To Give Approval For Medicaid Funded Abortions
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - If approved by Governor Terry Branstad, Iowa would likely be the first state to require the governor to personally approve reimbursement for every abortion for Medicaid
Iowa's Medicaid program covers a small number of abortions each year due to rape, incest, fetal deformity or to protect a mother's life. If Branstad approves this measure, he will have to sign off
on these reimbursement dollars on a regular basis.
The Roman Catholic, anti-abortion Republican said he is likely to approve the legislation, which effects reimbursements after the abortions, not authorizing the procedures ahead of time.
Abortion rights advocates say Iowa would be the first state to set such a policy.
Northey To Travel To Turkey On Agricultural Trade Mission
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Nebraska Agricultural Trade Representative Stan Garbacz are packing for Turkey to accompany officials from four other
states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a trade mission to promote exports.
Officials from Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Pennsylvania also have reserved space for the trip to be led by Acting USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse next
Representatives from 20 U.S. companies will also travel with the group including from Iowa: Hagie Manufacturing from Clarion, Sukup Manufacturing from Sheffield, and Tri-States Grain Conditioning
from Spirit Lake.
Also included are representatives from the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission and Kelly Bean Co. of Scottsbluff, Neb.
Northey says Turkey's growing middle class provides opportunities for expanded agricultural exports.
Des Moines Police Identify Homicide Victim
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines police have identified a man killed in a shooting in an industrial area.
The Des Moines police identified the man as 35-year-old Steven Allen Harmon, of
He was found fatally shot early Thursday in a parking lot where trailers are stored.
Police say Harmon had a trailer at the site, but investigators are still trying to learn why he was at the location Thursday morning.
The killing was Des Moines' fifth homicide this year and the sixth in Polk County.